Hey how’s it goin’? For the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about training the quit out of yourself/myself, something in which I believe whole-heartedly. Take action always, no matter how small. But a few weeks ago a funny thing happened: I had a full on crash and burn. A bad case of the blahs. Burnout. Has that ever happened to you? Where you just really don’t feel like doing much of anything and the idea of taking any sort of action step, even a tiny one, is completely overwhelming?
Could it have been the weather? Sure-late September in Vancouver is a funny beast. Our beautiful (but short) summer does a tumultuous and graceless flip into the gray and gloom of fall. Maybe it was the wildfire smoke that blanketed our little corner of the world, making it hard to breathe and looking more than a little dystopian? Could have been. Work stress? I work an extremely fast-paced job that has been woefully understaffed five years running. It’s enough to get even the toughest of us feeling blue. Or maybe it was my chosen lifestyle where I think I can do all the things, and forget I’m human and not a robot. Who knows? Here’s the thing: Yes, I crashed for a good couple of weeks, but I am most proud of how I treated myself through it.
Proud? You bet. Previous versions of myself would have judged this episode as “bad”, “lazy”, “not trying hard enough”. But this time was different. I gave myself grace. I told myself (repeatedly) that it would pass soon enough and that I had full permission to do whatever I needed in any passing moment. More than ever, I let myself off the hook. That meant missing jiu jitsu classes I would typically not miss, not keeping up with my self-imposed writing schedule, not reading my book, and letting myself be as quiet and still as I wanted to be in any given moment and not feeling bad about it or “should”ing all over myself for doing so little.
But that’s not all. After a few days of nothing at all, I started to bounce back. Just a little. Slowly. Turns out treating myself with compassion put me back on to the path to little action steps a lot faster than teaming up with my previous pal, Self-Loathing, ever could have. I started looking for things that would catapult me out of this funk. Things like more vegetables, gentle exercise, reading just one page of my book and admitting how I was feeling to some of the really wonderful humans in my life made all the difference. It made all the difference between a few weeks of blahs and an all systems outage.
So, what am I trying to say here? I’m hoping that next time you feel down and out, blah, blue, sad or just plain old burnt out that you will be extra nice to yourself. That your go-to will be compassion instead of frustration and resistance. Maybe I’m the last person to discover this little trick, but I don’t think so. As the dreary season settles in around us, be gentle with your wonderful self. I was more than pleasantly surprised at the difference it made for me and am willing to bet it will for you too. Thoughts?